The city of Fayetteville may soon be the next Arkansas community to embrace a new state law allowing the limited public consumption of alcohol.
Nearly a month after the Little Rock City Council voted to pass an ordinance creating its own entertainment district, Fayetteville City Council members will consider a similar proposal to establish rules and boundaries where residents could drink alcohol in public during special events.
Such a measure is made possible by Act 812, sponsored by Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) in the regular legislative session of the Arkansas General Assembly earlier this year. Under the act, cities and towns are allowed to designate sections of the city/town as “entertainment district” – either permanently or temporarily – to promote hospitality and tourism in Arkansas.
Mountain Home became the first city to embrace the new law, voting in June to allow public drinking in its downtown region. Within Mountain Home’s entertainment district, people can drink in public between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and midnight every day of the week. El Dorado followed suit.
The proposal before the Fayetteville City Council is stricter than that of Mountain Home’s, allowing public consumption only during special events authorized by the mayor on an individual basis.
Open container areas would be limited to streets closed to traffic, similar to when the downtown square is closed to vehicles for events and festivals. The proposal includes a rule that would only allow alcohol in compostable or reusable cups. Individuals would be limited to one drink at a time and containers would be limited to 16 ounces or less. Drinks must also be purchased from a vendor inside the district, and individuals would not be allowed to bring their own beverages into the district.
The Fayetteville City Council will formally take up the proposal during the next meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 20, and the public would be given the opportunity to comment on the proposal.